Home > Political Ranting > Another Bush Lie: Everyone Thought Iraq Had WMD

Another Bush Lie: Everyone Thought Iraq Had WMD

July 10th, 2004

We have heard it many times from Bush and his people. I have heard it echoed by conservatives posting to this site and others.

Bush, Cheney and their administration said that Iraq had WMD. That’s been proven false, so they have to defend their saying it. Their defense is yet another lie, a lie by insinuation: that Bush was not out of line about his Iraqi WMD claims because everyone, including Clinton and the U.N., also believed that Iraq had WMD.

That claim is a lie because it attempts to make equal Bush and Clinton and the U.N., when in fact they were as different as night and day.

Yes, Clinton and the U.N. believed that Iraq had WMD. The difference, however, is in degree.

Clinton and the U.N. believed that Hussein had some weapons of mass destruction, in the form of limited stockpiles of chemical and perhaps some biological weapons. But they did not believe them to be an immediate threat, and did not believe they would leave the country; they believed, in short, that Hussein was contained and could continue to be contained.

That is light-years away from what Bush was pushing:

1. Bush and his people claimed that Hussein had massive stockpiles of WMD (Bush: “This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.” Rumsfeld: “He’s amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons“), far more than Clinton or the U.N. ever believed.

2. Furthermore, Bush and Cheney strenuously asserted that Hussein was six months away from completing a nuclear weapon, or possibly had developed one already. (Bush on a fictional 1998 IAEA report: “…a report came out of the . . . IAEA, that they [Iraqis] were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.” Cheney: “On the nuclear question, many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire such weapons fairly soon.”) The fact is, neither Clinton nor the U.N. believed that Hussein had a nuclear program that was anywhere close to developing nukes, nor did they ever claim that Hussein was buying uranium or using aluminum tubes for his nuclear program.

3. Bush also claimed that Hussein had ties with al Qaeda (Cheney continues with that claim to this day), and that Hussein, who jealously guarded his resources and did not share with anyone, would readily hand over nukes to al Qaeda. (Bush: “Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof – the smoking gun – that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” “Saddam Hussein . . . is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon,” and “The regime . . . has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda. The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.”) Neither Clinton nor the U.N. believed that Hussein was in league with al Qaeda, or that Hussein would share any of his weapons with them. They were aware that Hussein and al Qaeda were religiously and ideologically at odds, that they hated each other, and were not in alliance.

So, to say that Bush was not out of line to make his claims because Clinton and the U.N. believed the same is outrageous, a deliberate attempt to mislead. Don’t believe a word.

(All non-attributed quotes were provided by Iraq on the Record.)

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  1. Brian Parry
    July 20th, 2004 at 17:30 | #1

    I am so tired of people who believe Bush lied about WMDs. It is a fact that Iraq had stock piles of WMDs. It is a fact that we found WMDs – but only very small or singular amounts. It is a fact that no one can account for the missing WMDs. All the other big foreign countries also believed Iraq had WMDs – including France. There is no doubt the WMD thing is a fiasco. But what worries me is – where are they now? They aren’t accounted for. That is truely scarry! And while the intellectually dishonest say “Saddam himself was a WMD” I find that excuse/arguement true but worthless. If that in’t bad enough, we have demonstrated to the world that our CIA totally sucks. Nobody but the givernment is to blame for that.

  2. joooel
    October 23rd, 2004 at 10:53 | #2

    alright first of all we all know there were no weapons of mass destruction. But we all thought so…based on intelligence from The CIA the CIA!! I mean if i was president i’d believe what the cia had to say. I mean everyobody was convinced…even John Kerry…who by the way supported the war until he saw a political advantage by attacking Bush saying this is the wrong war wrong time wrong place. It’s bullshit. Kerry will say whatever you want him to say. “oh yeah i voted for the patriot act then against it but if i had to do it again i’d vote for it” Come on kerry sack up and take a stand for what you believe for. I don’t like bush but i’d rather have a president with balls than some fuck liberal who is just an ear pleaser.

  3. Luis
    October 23rd, 2004 at 12:22 | #3

    Joooel:

    Did you even read this post before commenting? In light of what is written in the post above, what you just wrote sounds–and you will have to excuse me here–stupid. It is not just a matter of whether or not people believed there were WMDs, it is a matter of how many WMDs people believed there were, what type of WMDs people believed there were, and what threat that people believed existed because of them.

    Kerry and the Democrats, after 9/11, were getting their intelligence filtered through the White House, the CIA and military officials working for Bush and his agenda. They did not get everything that the president got. And even at that, they did not believe that Hussein was the threat Bush made him out to be. You just buy into the lie that Bush and the Dems saw the same data, knew the same things, and believed equally that Iraq was a threat.

    Republicans such as yourself also believe (either suckered into it or willfully) that when Congress–at least the Dems in Congress–gave the war powers to Bush, that they were not giving him their approval to march right on in as Bush did. You conveniently forget that Bush argued passionately that in order to get Saddam to disarm, in order to get the inspectors in, he had to have the authority to send the troops in, or else Saddam wouldn’t budge. You ignore or are ignorant of the fact that Bush vowed that he would use the powers given him (after first claiming he didn’t need Congressional approval) to use as a stick to open up Iraq, and would first verify the threat before using the powers to invade.

    That is what Kerry agreed to. He made it crystal clear on the floor of the Senate the day of the vote–but of course you don’t want to know that fact. And he has consistently stood by that point, though Bush has twisted the facts to make it look like Kerry flip-flopped, when in fact it was BUSH that flip-flopped–first saying he’d use the authority to get the truth, then when he got the power, ran off and invaded prematurely.

    And you apparently are unaware today (or just unwilling to admit) that despite Bush’s fantastic claim that Saddam didn’t let the inspectors in, the fact is that he did. It was not Saddam who threw them out, it was BUSH who did that. And the inspectors were reporting initial successes, and were not finding any WMDs–because in fact there were none!! But Bush did anything and everything to claim that the inspections were failing, because he wanted to invade. He claimed the inspections were failing because they weren’t turning up the WMDs, bogus reasoning at best. And then he used that reasoning to invade.

    FACT: Clinton, Kerry and the Democrats believed Hussein had WMD, which was wrong. But they also believed he did not have many. They also believed that Hussein did not have nuclear WMD, and that Hussein was not sharing them with terrorists–and they were RIGHT. They believed Iraq was not a threat to us that warrented an invasion unless proven otherwise, and they were RIGHT.

    FACT: Bush knew that Iraq was not the threat he was claiming, but he cherry-picked the data and then he and his people exaggerated the hell out of it, often outright lying (we know he has WMDs and we know exactly where they are, we know he’s reconstituted his nuclear program and will have a bomb in 6 months, etc.). They wanted to invade Iraq for their own reasons, and used 9/11 and the WMD as a front, an excuse for that.

    Bush is the liar here. And I’m frankly apalled that you’d rather have a “ballsy” president who pisses away the lives of more than a thousand brave Americans and gets thousands more crippled, whilst turning the world against us and turning away from hunting the people who really attacked us. As a result, terrorists are now stronger than ever, we’re more isolated than ever, we’re going broke, and our military is spread so thin we wouldn’t be able to invade Djibouti if we wanted to. But at least you got your rocks off, so I guess it’s OK.

    If you really believe that such a fuck-up is the kind of guy you want in office, then God help us all. Stay away from the polls in November, please.

  4. Anonymous
    November 5th, 2004 at 03:23 | #4

    “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
    – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003 | Source

    “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
    – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002 | Source

    “One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”
    – President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 | Source

    “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
    – President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998 | Source

    “We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction.”
    – Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998 | Source

    “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
    – Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998 | Source

  5. Admin
    April 20th, 2005 at 00:09 | #5

    Post deleted due to excessive abuse in violation of comment policy.

    One more comment like that in violation of policy, and the visitor in question will be banned.

  6. June 4th, 2005 at 23:35 | #6

    “Saddam Hussein’s Iraq reminds us of what we learned in the 20th century and warns us of what we must know about the 21st. In this century we learned through harsh experience that the only answer to aggression and illegal behavior is firmness, determination, and, when necessary, action.

    In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers, or organized criminals, who travel the world among us unnoticed. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity”

    -President Clinton’s February 1998 Statement on Iraq to the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    The U.N. has documented Saddam’s WMD programs going back to 1980. If you have not already, I urge you to go to the U.N.’s website and read the UNSCOM timline. un.org/depts/unscom/

    What President Clinton said in 1998 was still valid in 2003 and it was time past time to “respond” with “action.”

  7. Luis
    June 5th, 2005 at 11:58 | #7

    Well, it’s kind of hard to argue with that one. I could claim that Clinton was attempting to look strong against Iraq under criticism by the right, and I could much more strongly point out that despite the cited statement, Clinton apparently felt it was not strong enough a threat to act on. But on the evidence, you’re right.

  8. Jim
    June 18th, 2005 at 06:35 | #8

    Yeah, only George Bush thought Saddam had WMDs.

    “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
    –President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

    “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”
    –Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

    “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
    –Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

    “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
    Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
    – Democratic Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others, Oct. 9, 1998

    “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
    -Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

    “Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”
    – Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

    “There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”
    Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
    – Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

    “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them.”
    – Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

    “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
    – Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
    – Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
    – Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
    – Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

    “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
    – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

    “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”
    – Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

    “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do”
    – Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
    – Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    “We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.”
    – Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

    “[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
    – Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

  9. BlogD
    June 18th, 2005 at 16:43 | #9

    Jim:

    Look at those quotes and compare them to the thesis of the post: did all of these people believe that Saddam Hussein was an immediate threat and had WMD to the same degree as Bush claimed to? That emphasized part is the key and it’s what you are ignoring. I made crystal clear that everyone believed Hussein had WMD and was a threat; the thesis was that right-wingers always try to “make equal Bush and Clinton and the U.N” in terms of how much of a threat was there–and I hold with my original thesis, which none of the above quotes denies, that neither Clinton nor the U.N. believed Hussein was as much of a threat as Bush claimed he was.

    The quotes you provide have very similar themes: none express the idea that Hussein was as much of a threat as Bush claimed him to be, and none of them suggested that invasion was necessary, rather that containment was.

    As such, none of your quotes proves a thing in the context of this debate.

    The fact still stands: the right-wing argument that Bush was right because all those liberals agreed with him is bogus, because they weren’t in agreement: they differed greatly in terms of degree.

    I find it interesting, almost hilarious in fact, that the same right-wingers who bash Democrats for being against the war can be so vociferous in dredging up pro-war quotes from Democrats when the argument suits them. From all the quotes you and others bring up, why aren’t you praising all these Democrats for being so correct about Hussein for so long? Instead you attack them for being so pro-Hussein and anti-American.

    There’s a word for that: hypocrisy. Thank you fo so thoroughly demonstrating that.

  10. September 3rd, 2005 at 16:34 | #10

    I’m not a Democrat- in fact I’m a member of the NRA, but I just wanted to say thanks for writing this blog. I am so sick of the cut/paste quote block some neo-cons made a few years ago when we learned Bush was wrong about so much. George Tenet specifically told Bush that the yellowcake evidence was bunk and the CIA only allowed those 16 words in Bush’s State of the Union because he included the ‘according to’ caveat so it would only be a lie of omission.

    Clinton and the others made general statements about Hussein’s intent and capabilities. The Bush Administration made specific statements about pieces of intelligence such as the mobile weapons labs that had previously been flagged by the CIA as possibly unreliable. And the Al-Qaeda thing is beyond ridiculous- the only evidence they ever had is a training camp outside of Hussein’s control in Northern Iraq and a non-Al-Qaeda fundamentalist going to a hospital in Baghdad without Hussein’s knowledge.

    Don’t worry- even if you keep getting cut/paste comments from the fringe right that didn’t bother to read your post, the polls show that mainstream America has already come to terms with the fact that Bush “deliberatly misled” them about Iraq’s WMD.

  11. PFC Lode
    February 12th, 2007 at 02:13 | #11

    I dont get it. I really dont. Instead of argueing over who spilt the milk and why and to what degree was the milk spilt, instead of posting replys on dumb web blogs, why aren’t all you anti-war/anti-bush people e-mailing and writing to your senators and reps. telling them to bring home the troops. If nothing eles, tell them to block this new surge of troops. I know I’m going to be in Iraq after I leave Korea, but I’d like to be home more than ten months during the next TWO YEARS.

  12. Luis
    February 12th, 2007 at 02:20 | #12

    PFC: What makes you think we don’t? Well, myself and those of a similar mind to myself. I barely have to–coming from the SF Bay Area, my representatives are already against the war, but nevertheless I have made my own feelings known to them. And a lot of people do that elsewhere. Just because we criticize the Surge and other numbskullery in blogs does not mean we don’t take action elsewhere. In fact, the reverse is true: people who write blogs like this are more likely to do what you’re asking.

    You know who you should be complaining to? All the right-wingers. First, tell them what you told me here (and then see how much they support “the troops” when they don’t toe the right-wing line), and then if any of them object, tell them that if they support the war, and especially the surge, then why the hell don’t they all go and volunteer??

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